About a year after my rambunctious toddler was born I started Gluten Free Mom To Be partly to help myself work through some of life’s frustrations by sharing with others but mostly to help others out there with their gluten free lives and just life in general. I’ve learned in my 29 years that life is by no means always easy or picturesque, not always going the way that you plan or hope. You’ll encounter moments of pure bliss followed by roadblocks, sometimes one after another, that seem to make those blissful moments that much more precious. What’s hard is finding the light and looking forward in those difficult times when you can feel so alone and defeated. I think we can all admit that while riding the ups and downs in the roller coaster called life it would be much easier with support that may be lacking from time to time. That’s where my blog came in, I wanted to provide others a place where they didn’t feel alone, where they could share their happy moments or less than happy moments and find comradery or help from others who may have experienced similar situations.
It hasn’t been easy sharing glimpses into my life but just knowing that someone out there might be reading one of my stories and feel a little bit better because of it is reason enough to blog. Not long after starting my blog I decided to share how I became the Gluten Free Mom To Be, a story that was difficult to talk about even a year later but one that I thought many others could relate to. The main theme, besides the beautiful arrival of my first baby girl, was becoming a c-section mommy, a group of mommies that for one reason or another found themselves having a very emotional and physical experience in common. For me, as I shared in Living Life As A C-Section Mommy, giving birth to my daughter by a c-section was hard enough emotionally and physically for myself but adding in what everyone around me thought and felt was just too much. Unfortunately we live in a world where judging, criticizing, and competing are just everyday occurrences, and sadly nothing is off limits, even how you gave birth.
No matter how a woman delivers a baby, that moment is sacred and beautiful, and when it has to happen in the less idyllic way a woman shouldn’t be judged, shamed, or deemed less deserving of the mother badge. In the many lovely articles that I’ve read online about how horrible c-sections are and how every woman “should” deliver a baby the traditional way, I remember coming across a specific comment that really rubbed me the wrong way. The blogger who left the comment had herself been incredibly fortunate to have a beautiful home birth with another planned in the near future, the second birth was later shared in a tear jerking video that would make any mother wish for that same experience. The comment that struck a chord with me in a negative way was her distaste for mothers sharing their horrific and awful birth stories with expecting mothers, emphasizing how insensitive it was not to mention the fact that it didn’t empower women and build them up to experience how beautiful birth really is.
While I agree scaring a mother to be with your story might not be so encouraging I have to admit that for myself I wish I had heard a few more less than perfect c-section stories. When I first found out that I had to have a c-section the first time around all I heard were stories of how easy c-sections were, of mothers being able to get up and walk around without pain just moments after the meds wore off, of mothers being able to change diapers and carry around their newborns with ease during their hospital stay, and my favorite of how easy recovery was for many a c-section mommy. These stories are wonderfully positive but I know for me after having an experience that was anything but any of the perks that were told to me before made me feel that much more frustrated about my own birth. On top of being disappointed about just having a c-section I was now comparing my story to other c-section moms that had enviable experiences which made matters worse.
I think what’s hard is that naturally as human beings we compare. Hearing countless stories of beautiful births, either natural or c-section, has just the same effect as hearing stories that weren’t so peaceful and perfect, both preparing you for either complete and utter relief that your birth wasn’t that bad or an overwhelming disappointment that your birth hadn’t turned out like all those that you’d read about. For myself, I’ve shared my stories not to scare anyone or take away the beauty of giving birth because despite my experiences I still look at both of my daughter’s births as beautiful, but to help other mothers out there who felt similar to how I did after my first c-section. Contrary to what some may think c-sections are not easy, or at least easy for everyone, just as vaginal births aren’t, but when all you hear are first hand accounts of that nature it can wreck havoc on you emotionally after your experience. I would’ve given anything to have someone stand by my side and say they too had felt the same things both physically and emotionally but unfortunately for me everyone around me hadn’t had c-sections before so they couldn’t really understand the emotional toll it took on me not to mention the physical pains of it. As every other mother would agree, no matter how their child arrived, it was beautiful, maybe scary, painful, emotional, or a boatload of other emotions, but beautiful nonetheless but that doesn’t mean that their stories can’t be shared, whether they were perfect textbook births or something quite different. Sharing helps us all heal and at least for me sharing my stories have helped me accept the things I can’t change and embrace the mantra that everything happens for a reason.
Needless to say despite all of my planning, hoping, and crossing everything that can be crossed I am a c-section mommy again. Was the birth of my second little girl what I had dreamed it would be? Yes, because the ending, which is the most important part, was exactly what I hoped for, being able to give my little girl her first kisses and hugs. For one reason or another God sent both of my baby girls to me and planned them to arrive this way, and even though I won’t ever understand why and I would’ve loved to not have a c-section again, being a healthy mommy and holding a healthy baby in my arms is all I could ask for. So I’m happy to share both of my birth stories as a c-section mommy. Neither experience was easy, both having their scary moments, but at the end of both were happy endings and that’s all any mother could hope for. As mothers, well really as a society in general, while we’ll never be able to stop comparing ourselves to each other because that’s just innately part of us, we do need to stop judging or criticizing others for their experiences. Whether good or bad, every birth story is valuable and beautiful in its own way and while I’ll never not feel sad about certain events in each of my own births I no longer feel cheated and I hope other mothers can find the same peace.
Lindsay, A Very Proud C-Section Mommy